Man with terminal cancer ‘shocked and upset’ over fit to work ruling

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A MAN suffering from terminal cancer who is just weeks away from undergoing an operation to remove his colon has had his benefits stopped after being told he is fit to work.

Carl Lewis, 37, was diagnosed with familial polyposis coli, a rare form of bowel cancer, in 1991 after inheriting the disease from his father.

After numerous tests and hospital procedures, he had a section of his colon removed in 1999 and has not been able to work since.

But now, after attending a healthcare assessment arranged by Atos – on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) – Mr Lewis has lost his Employment Support Allowance benefit despite being booked in for an operation which will confine him to his house for up to a year.

Mr Lewis, of Bridlington, said: “I have been going for regular tests for years and I’ve always been told that I can’t work because of my condition. It is degenerative and it’s not going to get better, so I was shocked and upset when I received the letter saying I will lose my benefit.

“I had a letter from my GP sent to the Atos assessor outlining my condition, and I tried to explain when I went for the assessment, but obviously it has been ignored.”

He is set to go into Scarborough Hospital in the next few weeks for a further operation to have the rest of his colon removed and a permanent stoma fitted.

His allowance equates to 
about £79 a fortnight, which goes towards making up a housing benefit shortfall for rent on the 
flat he shares with his wife Carolyn.

A spokesman for the DWP said: “A decision on whether someone is well enough to work is taken following a thorough face to face assessment and after consideration of all the supporting medical evidence provided by the claimant at the time. Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can submit extra medical evidence and ask for their claim to be looked at again, or appeal to an independent tribunal.”